RSV, COVID-19, & Flu Shots: Breaking Down Who Should Get These Vaccines And When


For many years, as autumn approached, we might obtain reminders to get a flu shot, with suggestions specializing in probably the most susceptible populations. It was easy. Now, it’s extra difficult and even complicated at instances. The work of many devoted and good scientists has expanded the numbers and varieties of vaccines really useful for preventing off some fierce respiratory illnesses with probably lethal issues. These embrace influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19.

The present vaccines elevate questions new to the sphere of healthcare – who ought to obtain them? When and the way ought to they be administered? Can they be blended? Let’s take a look at the three respiratory illnesses of best concern for which there are at the moment vaccines, in addition to suggestions for these seeking to take them this fall.

Flu vaccines

In line with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), everybody six months of age and older ought to obtain an influenza vaccine — higher referred to as the annual flu shot.

Influenza vaccination, ideally, would forestall 100% of circumstances. A small variety of individuals, nevertheless, don’t develop full immunity. In these individuals, vaccination slashes the danger of extreme illness, want for hospitalization, and death. Folks 65 and older ought to obtain high-dose influenza vaccine preparations.

Beginning this 12 months, individuals with egg allergies can obtain any influenza vaccine, both egg-based or non-egg-based, that’s in any other case acceptable for his or her age. It isn’t doable to carefully predict when seasonal influenza will arrive, but it surely typically peaks in December to January, with most circumstances occurring in November by means of March. Vaccination in September or October will nonetheless present safety even when the flu season arrives as late as February or March. The vaccine is already accessible, and you will get it now.

Child getting flu shot
Brayden McMichael, 10, will get his annual flu shot. Whereas medical professionals suggest that each wholesome particular person over six months of age get the flu vaccine, a brand new nationwide survey by Orlando Well being discovered {that a} stunning variety of mother and father are skeptical of its security and effectiveness.

RSV vaccines

RSV may cause extreme decrease respiratory tract infections (LRTIs). Adults 60 and older and infants are especially vulnerable. Two RSV vaccines have been accredited by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) in Could 2023, for the prevention of LRTIs in adults 60 and older. In June, the ACIP really useful that folks on this age vary obtain a single dose of an RSV vaccine. They advise utilizing shared medical decision-making between the affected person and their healthcare supplier to decide on whether or not to immunize.

You and your supplier ought to focus on your underlying well being circumstances, your threat of a extreme LRTI, and the potential advantages, dangers, and limitations of vaccination. The individuals almost definitely to profit from RSV vaccination are over the age of 60, these with chronic lung diseases, asthma, congestive coronary heart failure, coronary artery illness, diabetes, power kidney or liver illnesses, and reasonable or extreme immunosuppression.

The time to get vaccinated for RSV is now, with out regard to season. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s (CDC) RSV Vaccine Information Statement ought to be offered to you.

One of many two accredited RSV vaccines (Abrysvo, manufactured by Pfizer) was additionally accredited in late August 2023 to be used in girls who’re 32 to 36 weeks pregnant. It protects infants in opposition to RSV from start to age six months. The infants can be born with the safety of their moms’ antibodies. The vaccine was well-tolerated throughout being pregnant with minimal side-effects. The ACIP has not issued suggestions for using the RSV vaccine in being pregnant, however tips are anticipated quickly.

Sick baby with respiratory illness - RSV, COVID, lung issue
(© zilvergolf –

Up to date COVID-19 vaccines

The up to date COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to focus on the XBB.1.5 pressure of Omicron, which has circulated broadly all through the U.S. in 2023. These vaccines haven’t been evaluated by the FDA, and the CDC and ACIP haven’t but offered tips. It’s anticipated that when accredited, the up to date COVID-19 vaccines can be really useful for:

  • All adults 65 and older
  • Adults of any age with power medical circumstances that make the danger of extreme COVID-19 extra probably
  • Anybody with reasonable or extreme immunocompromising circumstances
  • Those that are pregnant

Suggestions are additionally pending for different populations, comparable to wholesome adults 50-65, adults youthful than 50 with power well being circumstances, teenagers, and older youngsters. It’s anticipated that shared decision-making can be really useful for these teams.

When you’ve got had a current COVID-19 an infection, it is best to wait at the least three months earlier than getting a fall 2023-updated COVID vaccine. In the event you acquired a dose of one of many present bivalent vaccines at any time since July 2023, you also needs to wait three months earlier than receiving the autumn 2023 vaccine. Sufferers with extreme immunocompromising circumstances ought to focus on timing with their healthcare suppliers.

COVID-19 an infection charges, on the rise nationally, have raised questions on boosting those that are eligible now. Provided that the up to date COVID-19 vaccines are on the best way, it is best to look forward to the up to date vaccine.

Folks not within the higher-risk groups ought to take into account when they need the very best degree of safety since we all know that protecting immunity begins to wane two to three months after immunization. For instance, in case you plan to spend the winter holidays touring or with individuals in massive indoor gatherings, you could need to time your up to date COVID-19 vaccine for late October or early November. Most immunity develops over a number of weeks from the time of immunization.

Timing and Co-Administration of RSV Vaccines

An influenza vaccine might be acquired concurrently with both the RSV vaccine or the up to date COVID-19 vaccine. Every time a number of vaccines are administered on the identical time, the injection websites ought to be spaced appropriately from each other, or in reverse arms. Most consultants are recommending a two-week interval between receiving an RSV vaccine and the up to date COVID-19 vaccine, however there isn’t a knowledge to information these choices.

Do what works finest for you and your schedule. Some individuals could also be unable to make separate journeys to their supplier’s workplace or native pharmacy for immunization. That ought to not prohibit getting immunized.

Though the timing of fall vaccines is extra advanced this 12 months, the principle message is how necessary these immunizations are to staying wholesome in the course of the winter respiratory virus season.

Info on this article comes courtesy of Judith A. O’Donnell, MD, Chief of Infectious Illnesses, director of an infection prevention, and hospital epidemiologist at Penn Presbyterian Medical Middle, Philadelphia.

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